Turkey wraps prepared for school lunch
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A wrap is a type of sandwich made with a soft flatbread rolled around a filling. The usual flatbreads are wheat-flour tortillas, lavash, or pita; the filling usually consists of cold sliced meat, poultry, or fish accompanied by shredded lettuce, diced tomato or pico de gallo, guacamole, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, grilled onions, cheese, and a sauce, such as ranch or honey mustard.
Mexicans, Armenians, Greeks, Turks and Kurds have been eating wraps since before the 1900s. Mexicans refer to them as tacos, and they come in different ingredient varieties, such as corn, flour and wheat.
The first "wrap" restaurant that offered roll-up sandwiches was in the early 1980s at The Garage mall in Harvard Square Cambridge, Massachusetts. The restaurant was called "Stuff-It's" and it was salad with a tahini dressing rolled up most likely in Armenian lavash. The Garage mall at the time was mainly head shops, Indian clothing, music and comic stores. However, sandwiches in the style of a wrap were offered as early as 1978 by a store in nearby Brighton, Mass. In 1973, The Original Soyden's Syrian Subs served wraped up sandwiches in Dracut, MA. It is the earliest know restaurant in the Untited States to have served "roll-up" sandwiches. Bobby Valentine and other restaurant claims as the originator of these sandwiches all came after The Original Soyden's Syrian Sub from Dracut, MA in 1973.
The wrap probably comes from California, as a generalization of the Tex-Mex burrito, and became popular in the 1990s. It may have been invented and named at a southern California chain called "I Love Juicy" in the early 1980s. The Bobby Valentine Sports Gallery Cafe in Stamford, Connecticut is sometimes claimed to have invented the wrap at about the same time, but Valentine is diffident about it: "Well, that's legend and folklore, but until somebody disputes me or comes up with a better story, I'll say I invented the wrap." Beth Dolan of Stamford, Connecticut is the waitress credited for serving the first wrap after the restaurant had ran out of bread. Moreover, Valentine's own story dates his use of the name 'wrap' to the mid-1990s, after it is documented in California.
A wrap is different from a sandwich: a sandwich has two distinct layers which are the top and bottom pieces of bread. A wrap, on the other hand, is one piece that completely surrounds the content of the wrap.
Wraps in public eating places
Restaurants such as Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, Sonic Drive-In, Piccolo Gourmet New York, Jason's Deli, Buffalo Wild Wings, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Roly Poly, and McAlister's Deli serve wraps. KFC now serves its chicken in a wrap as menu choice, with lettuce, mayonnaise and salsa. McDonald's has recently introduced a snack wrap, with a fried chicken strip, lettuce, Cheddar, and ranch dressing. Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill has recently introduced a Portobello Chicken Wrap to broaden their selection of grilled menu items. Wraps are also very popular in Australia and New Zealand with chains such as Oporto and Burger Fuel amongst others serving them.
The UK wrap market has grown substantially since 2004 with all major sandwich and fast food stores now selling wraps.
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- William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi, History of Soy Sauce (160 CE To 2012), Page 1337
- Becky Mercouri, "Wraps", in Andrew F. Smith, The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, 2007. ISBN 0-19-530796-8
- Akasha Richmond, Hollywood Dish, 2006, p. 115. ISBN 1-58333-241-3
- The Oxford English Dictionary cites an article in the 12 October 1989 Los Angeles Times mentioning "The Juicy Wrap, a whole-wheat lavash (tortilla-type) sandwich‥is popular at I Love Juicy in West Hollywood."
- Ken Hoffman, "Watching Little Leaguers make Valentine's day", Houston Chronicle, 24 August 2010 article